Yoga: as a psychological discipline

Dr. Sandhya Ojha
Lecturer in Psychology
Sri Agrasen Kanya (Autonomous) Post Graduate College

The rapid change of traditional and cultural values, due to the drastic influence of westernization as well as sense of forwardness, leads to several problems. In these modern times, no one is free from conflict, stress and obstacles. Our mental health can inversely influence the ability to handle day-to-day problems and enjoy life. A true and meaningful life is one which has come in terms with all sides of personality and become integrated on the basis of a spiritual insight. Therefore the relationship between mental health and physical health has been a topic of keen interest to the psychologist which can be studied in Yoga Psychology. Yoga literally means "Yuj" i.e. to yoke or bind together. Yoga thus stands for union and control. It is the union of mind with the innermost centre of one's own being, the self or 'Atman', the union of the conscious mind with the deeper levels of the unconscious. It also implies self control and self discipline. Yoga thus constitutes psychophysical, moral and spiritual training which aims at building the totality of man. Psychology is an important aspect of yoga dealing with the contribution of clinicians or therapists who try to give relief from the human sufferings related particularly to behavioural or mental problems. Psychology covers a wide range of treatment procedures whose common characteristic is that it deals with psychogenic illness by psychological method rather than by the use of medicines and other somatic procedures. The yogic discipline consists in moving forward slowly but steadily towards the goal of moral and spiritual perfection. Just as there cannot be any spiritual discipline without mental discipline, so there cannot be any mental discipline without body discipline. Finally both Yoga and Psychology play an important role in educating man and integrating various aspects of the human personality. Thus Yoga Psychology includes the study of mental and physical illness, its cause and prevention along with treatment.

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This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002